Low Frame-rate?

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  • watchful

    Back in the day I played on a 16MHz 386 and later a few 486’s, and don’t recall the game feeling so choppy. On DOSBox-X it feels like only 20 FPS?

    Supposedly demos playback at only 17.5 FPS, and they programmed ghost-hitler’s fireballs on the frame-rate not tic-rate. So those balls move too slow if you get it running at its max rate of 70FPS.

    Maybe I just need to tune DOSBox or try a different machine. I usually hate original hardware because of noise and the wasted power consumption, though in this case it would be nice to try for comparison. Or even an FPGA like Mister.

    Anyway, am I crazy or was old hardware low FPS too?


    The game was always low fps. It was just the way it was. If you want to play it with decent framerate one of the many source ports might scratch your itch for higher frames.


    I found that my Dosbox defaulted to 3000 cycles when running Wolfenstein 3D, which is definitely a bit slow.

    Once I upped it to around 12k or so, the game ran a lot smoother. So maybe that’s something to try?


    Cycles was the problem! Increasing it to 10K was much smoother. Much thanks @Tijn


    I’m playing in on a PII, way faster than what was available at the time of course, but it’s as smooth as could be. From what I gather the engine tops out at 70FPS, potentially causing problems with those fireballs as watchful mentions. Not got that far yet.

    Were local bus graphics cards a thing when this was released? They can’t have been mainstream at any rate. No way you’d get 70fps out of an ISA VGA card I wouldn’t imagine whatever your CPU was.

    Doom topped out at 35fps so it’s actually smoother than the sequel potentially.


    VL-Bus was introduced in ’92, along with clock doubled 486 DX2 chips, so it would have been very new at the time and require a 486 or one of those rare 386 boards with VL support.

    Hitting the 70fps frame cap would have been a big ask for anything but a top of the line DX2 machine of the time. Many games have logic based on framerate and start to exhibit strange behaviors when rendering too fast, so I generally recommend to keep dosbox cycles roughly in line with a high-end machine of whatever period a game is from.

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